[mi-nawr-i-tee, -nor, -mahy-]
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noun, plural mi·nor·i·ties.
  1. the smaller part or number; a number, part, or amount forming less than half of the whole.
  2. a smaller party or group opposed to a majority, as in voting or other action.
  3. a group in society distinguished from, and less dominant than, the more numerous majority: The ethnic minority was disproportionately affected by the reduction in preventative medical services.
  4. a racial, ethnic, religious, or social subdivision of a society that is subordinate to the dominant group in political, financial, or social power without regard to the size of these groups: legislation aimed at providing equal rights for minorities.
  5. a member of such a group.
  6. the state or period of being under the legal age of full responsibility.
  1. of or relating to a minority.

Origin of minority

From the Medieval Latin word minōritās, dating back to 1525–35. See minor, -ity
Related formsnon·mi·nor·i·ty, adjectivepro·mi·nor·i·ty, adjective

Synonyms for minority

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for minority

Contemporary Examples of minority

Historical Examples of minority

  • And because the foreigners were in the minority they could not well defend themselves.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease.

  • The House divided and the government were left in a minority of nineteen.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • They are a detestable persecution when a minority promotes them.

  • True, there were deputies and some others who were experienced; but they were in the minority.

    The Coyote

    James Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for minority


noun plural -ties
  1. the smaller in number of two parts, factions, or groups
  2. a group that is different racially, politically, etc, from a larger group of which it is a part
    1. the state of being a minor
    2. the period during which a person is below legal ageCompare majority
  3. (modifier) relating to or being a minoritya minority interest; a minority opinion

Word Origin for minority

C16: from Medieval Latin minōritās, from Latin minor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for minority

1530s, "condition of being smaller," from Middle French minorité (15c.), or directly from Medieval Latin minoritatem (nominative minoritas), from Latin minor (see minor (adj.)). Meaning "state of being under legal age" is from 1540s; that of "smaller number or part" is from 1736. The meaning "group of people separated from the rest of a community by race, religion, language, etc." is from 1919, originally in an Eastern European context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper